Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Black Spring

The Swiss German language, with its plethora of “schoggis” “sammes” and “ess gut sees” isn’t the only thing that spits—the sky does too. The sky over Zurich started spitting 48 hours ago, turned to drizzle, and is now back to spit. It hasn’t let up. Today I decided to coordinate my outfit to fit in with the gloominess of it all by wearing black. Black jeans. Black boots. Black shirt. Black coat. Black purse. Black umbrella. I couldn’t have looked more Swiss if I tried. Well, my hair would need some spikes or mullet styling, but besides that I was really with it.

It’s almost the end of April. You wouldn’t know it from the expressions on the faces or the clothing of the people. If I had to guess the month based on the sour faces, black coats, and throaty coughs, I’d have to say it was November. Whatever happened to white spring coats and pastel skirts? Spring in my mind is a 1988 JC Penny ad of happy people in brightly colored Bermuda shorts. But I forgot, the Swiss don’t wear shorts. Birkenstocks maybe, but shorts—never.

Another reason for the gloom is the Böögg. The Böögg is a snowman filled with explosives that the Swiss light on fire while the rich of the rich parade around it on horses. The event takes place every second Monday in April. It is a very Swiss holiday in that fact that it is all based around one of their favorite things—time. The moment the Böögg is set ablaze, the ticking starts. The longer it takes for his head to blow up, the longer it will take for summer to appear. It’s sort of like a twisted version of Groundhog’s day.

This year, since I was in Amsterdam the day of the Böögg burning, one of my work colleagues reported to me yesterday that the Böögg’s head took 20 minutes to melt and another six minutes and one second for his neck to burst, a terrible showing as the average decapitation time is usually only about 10 minutes and is a quick and painless explosion of the entire head and neck, not a slow meltdown. Alas, any hopes of a JC Penny spring and summer are also melting away with this news.

1 comment:

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